Alberta’s Rogue Politics and Politicians

Is Alison Redford a rogue politician or does she belong to a rogue party?

A rogue is a dishonest or unprincipled man (or woman), a scoundrel, villain, miscreant, reprobate, good-for-nothing, ne’re-do-well, wretch, louse, crook.

The word “rogue” entered the lexicon of Alberta politics after Auditor General Merwan Saher reviewed Alison Redford’s use of government aircraft and found that somebody booked “false passengers” onto government flights in order to block seats and then unbooked them so that Ms Redford and her entourage could have the plane all to themselves. This is almost as spooky as that episode of Sherlock Holmes where the government packed a plane with dead people who would be blown up in order to avoid revealing that the government had cracked a terrorist code.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle are outraged, demanding that Ms Redford be ousted from caucus, resign her seat, be investigated by the RCMP and/or be tarred and feathered and run out of town.  

George Rogers, Deputy Speaker, said “At some point when someone basically goes rogue, what do you do? You have got to jettison that baggage.”*

This has got to stop

Of the three PC leadership candidates, Mr Prentice has been the most vocal about how he’d deal with rogue politicians and government officials.

He’s going to impose rules and discipline. “It’s about the tone from the top. We’ll change the rules, we’ll enforce the rules, and there will be real discipline around that. I promise you that. But that won’t do it in and of itself, because people will break the rules, and they’ll break the rules if they see the person at the top breaking the rules. That’s how leadership works.”**

It’s easy to sound righteous in the abstract. So Mr Prentice needs to put his high-flown oratory into practice right now.

How? By buttressing his promise to “change the rules, enforce the rules and discipline by the rules” by identifying the MLAs and elected officials who deserve sanction and promising to do something about them if he gets elected. Unlike Ms Redford (who it must be remembered is not yet been found guilty of anything) the Tory government includes a number of MLAs and government officials who have violated our trust.

The rogues’ gallery

The ethics commissioner, Neil Wilkinson, had no difficulty approving the Tory government’s decision to appoint Evan Berger, the defeated Tory cabinet minister, to a senior policy advisor post even though the appointment violated Alberta’s conflict of interest laws.

Mr Sandu

The ethics commissioner was equally sanguine about Tory MLA Peter Sandu’s failure to disclose six lawsuits against his financially troubled home-building company or his lobbying the government to change legislation in favour of his home-building company.

Mr Sandu resigned his seat as a Tory MLA to sit as an independent. His fellow MLA Mike Allen also became an independent after he was caught in a prostitution sting and charged with soliciting while on government business in Minnesota. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $500.

The Tory caucus voted to bring both Mr Sandu and Mr Allen back into the fold last December.

Instead of piling onto the “get Redford” bandwagon, Mr Prentice can do something remarkable.

He can promise to oust Mr Sandu and Mr Allen from caucus for violating the public trust. He can promise to review the performance of the ethics commissioner who appears to think his job is nothing more that providing air cover for the inappropriate or illegal actions of MLAs and their staff. Lastly, Mr Prentice can promise to ask Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson to terminate Mr Berger’s contract because it violates Alberta’s conflict of interest rules that require a one year cooling off period before a former government minister can work for the public service in an area in which he’s had significant dealings.

Mr Prentice

If Mr Prentice is reluctant to act because these decisions were made a year ago he can turn his attention to a recent decision that came to light around the same time as the licence plate debate.

Mr Prentice can promise to reverse Finance Minister Horner’s decision to give senior public servants a 7% pay raise over two years because it is a blatant violation of last year’s announcement that the compensation paid to top public servants would be frozen for three years.

Mr Horner’s about-face is even more egregious because when he announced the 3-year wage freeze he couldn’t resist saying “Our government is leading by example.”   

Based on that statement alone Mr Prentice should promise to oust Mr Horner for making the government look smug, self-righteous and hypocritical. Okay, maybe that last bit is over the top…the PC government is always smug, self-righteous and hypocritical.

Mr Prentice’s other alternative is to follow in Ralph Klein’s footsteps—unleash the spin doctors and turn himself into a lovable rogue—frankly I can’t see that working anymore, can you?

*Calgary Herald, July 30, 2014, A4

**Calgary Herald Online, July 14, 2014

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28 Responses to Alberta’s Rogue Politics and Politicians

  1. Frank Horvath says:

    Frankly, Susan, I don’t think Prentice can change himself into a loveable rogue. It’s too late for all that and furthermore he doesn’t strike me as the type. Whether Klein was a loveable rogue is another matter. I remain mystified how Albertans found Klein loveable at all. Imagine kicking a man who is literally down at the a entrance of a homeless shelter and telling him to get a job. That’s the image I have of Ralph Klein – loveable ? No! Rogue, yes!
    Thanks for a thought provoking article, Susan.

    • Frank, I agree with you on both points. Brian Mason nailed it when he called Prentice “Diamond Jim Prentice”. Prentice is too closely linked with Big Oil and Big Banks to carry off Klein’s man-of-the-people schtick. What’s puzzling is why Klein’s “good old Ralph” persona continues to endure when the consequences of his cost cutting decisions—crumbling infrastructure, inadequate healthcare and education—are coming home to roost. This is a huge challenge for the progressive parties who risk getting throttled on the doorstep if they dare raise the issue.

  2. ernest says:

    What I find crazy is that in all the mess Redford left, Danielle Smith has been completely unable to make any gains.

    Smith will never be Premier. Doesn’t have what it takes.

    • Ernest, you raise an excellent point. The PCs under Redford (and I’d add a number of past leaders) have mismanaged this province’s potential to such a degree that it will take some time to get the economy, the environment and social programs back into balance. A steep hurdle for any new leader.

  3. Peter Whitehead says:

    Love the blog, I eagerly await each issue.
    Have you thought of running in 2016, that is if we still have a Province by then?

  4. Hello Susan. I’ve seen this happen on a smaller scale where individuals in power have no qualms about breaking the rules for the better good. In their mind they’re not doing anything wrong. It’s as if they believe that they can do anything because they are “The Untouchables.”

    • Champs, three generations of Tory government with the accompanying perks and cronyism has created exactly that result…the sense of being “untouchable”. It happens to all governments and we’re witnessing it in the extreme here. Time for CHANGE!

  5. Carlos Beca says:

    Susan what about just using the rules that apply to the rest of us and put them in jail if convicted. Why is Alison Redford not being investigated? I am quite certain that if I had done even close to what she has so far I would not be at home relaxing.

    • Carlos, “using the rules that apply to the rest of us” — what an imminently sensible solution! If governments were held to the same standards of disclosure as corporations we’d be much better off. A corporation must disclose whenever it is doing something or not doing something that might (note, that’s “might” not “will”) materially impact its business. If a corporation back-tracks on its promises it must provide a very good (and truthful) explanation of why regardless of the consequences. Even with these safeguards in place corporations slide things past their shareholders and the regulators. But governments are not about to regulate themselves and the same rules don’t apply. Hence Redford, Sandu and Allen can get away with behavior that would never be tolerated in a corporation. If they worked for a corporation they’d have been out the door long ago even if their transgressions were not criminal. The simple matter that they used extremely bad judgment and damaged the corporation’s reputation would be enough to give them a pink slip.

  6. Ann says:

    It’s been obvious for a while that the PC’s want Redford’s riding for Prentice but the last thing they want to do is a establish a precedent for forcing MLA’s to resign if they are caught with their ethics compromised. Can you imagine a Legislature where MLA’s were expected to be decent people who have to live by the rules that the citizens do?

    So instead of addressing the fact that they are a party that actively encourages the recruitment of people who act in a manner that suggests that they are above most rules, they need to drum up outrage about Redford’s plane abuse and her (fostered by the party) sense of entitlement.

    And Prentice needs to make sufficiently huffy pronouncements about when he is Premier “things will be different”.

    Things are never different, however, except for the names and faces of the actors.

    If the Wildrose leader wanted to prove that her party really is an alternative, she would call out Prentice and the PC’s on this farce but she and her party are simply a different version of what we already have and not much at all will change should they form government.

    I don’t doubt that politicians’ sincerely believe that they are are the answer and that they will be different but I have yet to see even one of them do anything different from the last guy or gal in office. And I really doubt that we as citizens would ever elect someone – or even a party of someones – who truly believed that in order to really improve things, they would have to behave differently.

    • Well put Anne. I too believe that the PCs are trying to pin as much as they can on Redford in order to skate by the fact that she wasn’t the first to pull these stunts. Unfortunately the media is lapping it up. Today we see headlines about Redford’s people blocking off seats on planes, but no one printed headlines about Klein skipping a commercial flight and taking the government plane so that he could smoke on board. If we saw a headline that said Redford bails on first ministers conference to go shopping we’d be livid, but when Klein ditched the health summit because he “deserved a vacation” no one batted an eyelash. Or how about this: Redford has tantrum and throws policy document at Legislative page. Well she didn’t but Klein did in 2006, it’s recorded in Hansard for goodness sake, and yet it was OK when Klein did it because he was “good old Ralph” and he apologised. I hope that the people are up in arms now because they’re tired of the PC party and not just because the PCs have manipulated them into thinking its all Redford’s fault. Because it isn’t.

      • Ann says:

        There is more than a tiny bit of sexism in play here too. And I really hope the Redford digs in and hangs on in light of it.

        But I don’t think the public or the opposition is able to see past anger or agenda and call the manipulation what it is. Blatant, self-serving PC spin. Sad but when you look at Twitter or comments on newspaper articles, it really looks like the PC is winning this skirmish.

      • Ann, when Laurie Blakeman was asked whether sexism had anything to do with Redford’s resignation she said “Gender is part of it. But so is character and management choices and political ideology and a really, really, really old party that’s been here a long, long time.” As a result when Redford was still premier she and the really, really, really old party were able to avoid criticism when she and 2 other MLAs and 4 staffers flew up to Grand Prairie for “meetings with government officials” and stayed over for a $250 a head PC Leader’s Dinner fund raiser and then flew back with 4 other MLAs in tow. The Wildrose made the point that this was misuse of the government plane for party business but the press didn’t pick it up and the PCs were home free…again.

  7. Jim Lees says:

    It’s disheartening to hear that we need rules in place to put a stop to this behaviour. Rules are good, people need to know what they can and cannot do, but what happened to exercising good judgement? Do our leaders really need a rule or policy informing them that falsifying airplane bookings and/or misusing a government plane repeatedly is wrong? Don’t these people understand that as senior public officials they are going to be held to the highest standard? More than rules, we need people in public office who exercise good judgement and understand ethical conduct.

    • Jim, my first reaction to your comment was Bingo! The sad history of rule making for corporate governance which started with the Enron debacle and continued through Tyco, the collapse of the financial sector in 2008 and so on demonstrates that putting more rules in place does nothing if those in charge have no judgment or worse yet no morals. The erosion of good government (and good governance in corporations) is an incremental thing. On day 1, someone decides to step into the grey zone, on day 2 someone else decides to step further into the grey zone and by day 3 everyone is well beyond the grey zone and don’t know it because all it took was one more tiny little step. A government that has been in power for four decades has a very hard time recognizing just how far beyond the pale it has really gone. All the more reason to clear them all out and start fresh!

  8. jillbrowne says:

    I agree with this: “I too believe that the PCs are trying to pin as much as they can on Redford in order to skate by the fact that she wasn’t the first to pull these stunts.”

    If there is an long-term systemic cultural problem with internal controls, no matter what its cause, it is unfair to put it all at Alison Redford’s door. Not just unfair but ineffective.

    We need to ask whether the civil servants, particularly the accountants and financial people, are properly trained, monitored, and given the resources and authority they need to accomplish their jobs.

    The recent revelations of inappropriate spending seem to be coming out a very long time after the fact. Not enough attention was given to monitoring spending and making adjustments on a timely basis. Why is that?

    Let’s get beyond the popular statement that the PCs have a sense of entitlement and drill down to the mechanics of how spending is approved and monitored. Unless, of course, we all believe that the empty airplanes and the large severance cheques are isolated incidents that won’t happen again: if we believe that, there’s no need to review any of the procedures.

    • Jill, nicely put, especially the wrap up in the last paragraph…! On the point of inappropriate spending, I understand from an opposition MLA that there are 152 government appointed agencies, board, tribunal, councils, etc. These are managed by “independent” boards of directors. Some have their own staff. My MLA friend says the government passed legislation a few years ago requiring these directors and staff to disclose their expenditures but very few of them have done so thus far. This supports your point that a long-term systemic cultural problem with internal controls while crush transparency and accountability every time.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Wait until they disclose their expenditures – It will be fun.
        There are many Alison Redfords out there and the times when they could hide, like in King Ralphs reign are basically over.

  9. Ann says:

    I don’t want to overplay sexism’s role here but I don’t think being female helped because it’s still an old boys’ party. And I don’t think they would be pushing her to resign if she were a man. Look at some of the losers, they recently let back in, whose “sins” could have been leveraged to free up their seats – had they not been male.

    Redford is not an anomaly. The entitlement permeates the PC’s.

    I hold out low hope of change in Alberta at the provincial level as long as we are saddled with conservatives and what they call themselves doesn’t matter. They regard themselves as the ruling class with all the entitlement that comes with it. Until citizens really pay attention and make their displeasure known by voting for the best and most principled candidate – rather than the party – nothing will change. It’s decent people who know that their job is to serve the people who sent them that will make a difference. Not a party. Vote enough of these people in and then maybe party culture and legislative culture will change.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Ann I could not agree with you more but I will just add that getting rid of parties is probably a very tough job so I suggest that these people just have to be subject to the same rules the rest of us are. What we need is a Democracy Ombudsman that will be completely independent from the government or the Legislature and composed of more than one person. It is clear to me that the Legislature is not capable of self regulating. They seem to have this tendency of reverting back to their kindergarten years.

      • Ann says:

        I am not under the illusion that we can do away with the party concept. I just believe we, as voters, need to become more discerning in casting our votes. We are not placing the bar high enough and the quality of the candidates reflects this.

        Oversight is a good idea but how do we keep that from becoming just another arm of the govt that is already bloated with people who aren’t doing their jobs?

        It’s good that this is being discussed. We need more discussion. Just like we need to put more of our questions about character, behavior, motives to our representatives at all levels of govt. Being a public official is a little bit more than just a job. Or at least it should be viewed that way.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Ann I agree with you that it would be one more arm but I think it could be done in a way that we could avoid it being useless.
        I think that you are absolutely right that we have to place the bar way higher than it is right now. The whole political system is just mediocre to say the least. It starts in our schools where civic education is basically nill and within families it is not much better. I frequently meet people in our province that do not even know who our premier is never mind any other details about anything. Furthermore, interest in social/political issues is minimal, but that is not surprising when one takes in consideration that we are bombarded with nothing but messages of spend spend spend and more more more. There is a reason why we are now called consumers. That is exactly what we are. Citizens are rare these days and when they express themselves, they are quickly labelled or muzzled.

  10. Kathleen Lowrey says:

    I so agree with Ann that sexism plays a huge role here — and I say this as someone who feels no political affinity at all with Redford. I actually had to turn off the radio this morning in order to lower my blood pressure when they were reporting on the latest “scandal” about Redford being that she had brought her school-aged daughter along on some trips. Yes, too bad she couldn’t just leave her kid behind with her stay at home wife as “proper” politicians do.

    Can the PCs really get away with this? It’s repulsive enough that one ambitious PC dude after another is lining up to get his kicks in in hopes of promoting his own career, but the PCs at this point have a pretty shameless track record. What would be truly dispiriting is if it *works* on the public at large. Will Albertans really believe that Redford was some kind of exceptionally naughty loose cannon on an otherwise tight ship? Will this kind of ridiculously sexist and transparently venial gambit work? I’m not saying Redford’s practices were all defensible (though the fact that she combined parenting with work travel doesn’t seem to me inexcusable, let alone scandalous). What they were is part and parcel of a pattern that the PCs own *collectively*.

    • Kathleen, Ann and Carlos, every time I’ve tried to come back to you to add my two cents to this discussion the PC “old boys” do something ridiculous to further inflame this issue (and me). Now they’re hiding behind the Auditor General’s report and its references to the “aura of power” surrounding Redford and her staff as if to imply that they were utterly powerless to stop her. These guys drummed her out of office. If they wanted to stop her they would have stopped her. They didn’t. End of story. The AG’s report ripped the lid off the PC culture of entitlement. The PC government has hit the iceberg. It’s over.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I could not agree more – ‘they did not stop her. End of story’
        Now they will not resign. It is all her fault. Well to me I am glad this happening because these guys are sinking faster than I expected. What a bunch of cowards. Lukaszuk is one of them and I have not seen him last couple of days. Is he in Italy as well?
        This is ridiculous and makes me way more than inflamed believe me. Where is the young guy that slapped Klein with a pie? I need some instructions. 🙂

  11. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    I don’t know why we didn’t have an auditor general’s report on the improper use of the planes by all the Progressive Conservative premiers—starting from the time of Mr. Lougheed. I’d imagine that the premiers all used the planes as they thought fit and heaven forbid that any citizen quibbling about their jaunts.

    I haven’t yet read the auditor general’s report on the Redford’s use of the planes but I think the auditor general could have expanded his research to the other premiers to provide some fairness to this situation which seems to be that the Redford used the planes for uses that weren’t prescribed but there is no mention that she wasn’t alone in this sort of egregious behavior. I do believe the Klein error guy who had that –oh shucks–I’m just one of you image polished to perfection—using the planes for non-prescribed purposes as well. He wasn’t torn down to bits like the Redford is –simply because he fooled most of the people in Alberta into voting Tory while the Redford –was losing Tory votes at the end.
    This sort of misuse of funds is typical of the high flying Tory bigwigs.
    So why is it only now that everyone is acting as if this a new thing in Alberta?
    I think this is all about re-election strategy.
    I’d say that this emphasis on the Redford is a last strategic move by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta to convince Tory voters (they aren’t interested in non-Tory voters) that they are clean as the summer rains.
    In reality, it seems to me that these Tory politicians are all pretty much like the Redford; they seem to feel that their positions require these sorts of high end benefits. Unfortunately, Tory voters like myself don’t see the situation as they do. We don’t like to see our public dollars wasted on their privileges while our families are short of funds in extended care facilities. In addition to the waste of cash when it could be used for helping disadvantaged ordinary Albertans there is the matter of entitlement. Why do these folks feel they are above using the sorts of transportation devices used by ordinary citizens? I can’t see why they can’t take Air Canada for these trips or even drive to their constituents. I mean they don’t seem to even be at the house of corruption for most of the time— so they must have a ton of time to drive to meet with their constituents (just joking; I’ve never met Mr. Hancock so I know they don’t bother about us). I think my MLA–Mr. Hancock– is curiously on holidays right now while the lies are unraveling.

    In any case, the tarring and feathering of the Redford seems very excessive.
    She was only doing the sorts of things that all the high end Tories do. She was enjoying life on the top of the pyramid.
    We all know about this sort of junk because the newspapers have been yapping about it for a while.
    But what could we do about it?
    I guess we could have voted them out.
    Maybe this is a good time to do this.
    It is getting tiresome hearing about this sort of self serving opportunistic behavior especially when the extended care facilities are cutting staff, reducing services and not providing respiratory services in places like the Good Samaritan extended care while our bigwigs are enjoying the Sky Palace benefits.
    The gap between the haves and the have nots is astonishing and we have simply closed our minds to the entire rotten system.
    The fact is that this sort of fiscal opportunism has been going on for a long time in Alberta in every sector of our society.
    Let us look at AHS–which is sort of the breeding ground of these career politicians. You only have to look at AHS to see the prime example of bad use of our public dollars by the career politicians. There was that one case where they sent the employee to the USA for cancer treatment on our tab because the Weatherill woman decided that it was necessary. The Weatherill woman seems to have believed she was a Health services monarch and that she could wave a magic wand and do what she wished with our tax dollars. Yet no one seems to be auditing her.

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/04/23/alberta_healthcare_insiders_go_outside_for_personal_care_steward.html

    Alberta health-care insiders go outside for personal care: Steward
    Senior Alberta health-care official travelled to Mayo clinic for checkup and billed the province.
    The story begins in 2006 when Michele Lahey, a vice-president of the Edmonton health region, was pronounced cancer-free after being treated in Alberta’s publicly funded cancer care facilities.
    In early 2007, her boss, Sheila Weatherill, CEO of the Edmonton health region, insisted that she get checked out at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to make sure she really was cured.
    Weatherill also insisted that Lahey charge the trip and the medical checkup at the esteemed private clinic to her expense account, which meant taxpayers ended up footing the bill.
    That bill came to $7,223.00 — $5,125 for the checkup at the clinic, the rest for accommodation and meals during her two-day stay in the area.
    It’s galling to think that taxpayers coughed up that much money so one of the people who runs the health-care system here could get a free check up at the Mayo.
    ************************************************************
    And where is the Weatherill now?
    She is on the board of Epcor.

    What about another Tory buddy using our public dollars in a sort of SNC-Lavalin type of way?
    Let us not forget the HQCA fiasco where they had a board member who could not seem to resist using our taxpayer dollars to fund the Tory party; everyone is strangely silent about this misuse of public funds.

    http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/calgary/story/1.2716156
    Political appointment
    Health Minister Fred Horne appointed Vogelzang to the HQCA through order in council on Dec. 18, 2013. Vogelzang received a severance payout of nearly $894,000 when the David Thompson Health Region, and all other health regions in the province, were eliminated by the government in 2008. He was being paid about $400,000 a year in salary at the time.

    Several calls to Vogelzang’s Lacombe residence over the past two days were not returned.

    The internal health authority documents show Vogelzang expensed $900 to buy a table at a Ralph Klein fundraising dinner hosted by the Red Deer North Progressive Conservative Association.

    In a letter thanking Vogelzang for the “donation,” the association’s treasurer, Donald Oszli, states that “this transaction was processed through Heywood Holmes & Partners LLP’s credit card machine and will show on your statement as such.”

    Oszli is a partner in Heywood Holmes, a Red Deer accounting firm. Oszli initially promised to respond to several interview requests but reneged.

    Big restaurant tabs
    In 2007, Vogelzang expensed $575 for a table of eight at a premier’s breakfast featuring Ed Stelmach. Attached to the ticket is the business card of Kevin Pizzey, the local political engagement officer for the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA).

    Pizzey refused to respond to interview requests from CBC News. An ATA spokesman confirmed Pizzey was a volunteer with the Tory riding association, but said Pizzey was not acting on behalf of the ATA.

    In 2011, CBC News first revealed the widespread and long-standing practice of illegal political donations by publicly funded institutions almost exclusively to the Tory party. Alberta’s chief electoral officer is conducting an ongoing investigation and has so far verified dozens of cases.
    ************************************************
    This sort of misuse of public funds has been going on for a long time and we don’t know what is hidden still.This is just the dirt we are getting pointed out to us.
    I think there is more than this minor junk.
    I’m betting there is SNC-Lavalin type junk hidden away.
    It is also curious to me why we are even seeing this minor junk. I wonder if we are getting to hear these stories now simply because the Wildrosies have some of this information in their possession and are providing these leads to reporters.
    We have only a few stories such as these to wonder over.
    But what other stories would there be if the insiders yapped?
    Would there be SNC-Lavalin type corruption stories of the Quebec sort?
    I’m guessing there would be even worse corruption stories.
    We also haven’t looked at municipal politics and the construction companies, the development companies and the flow of public dollars to fund these projects.
    It’s such an interesting business of how ordinary citizens are being used over and over again to keep the most privileged groups of people in the money.

    The politicians –are puppets.
    We elect them but they aren’t our representatives.
    We have no sort of democracy.
    All we have is the ability to evict them from power every few years.
    The solution would be to keep these folks turning over repeatedly.
    The endurance of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta is built on the insertion of their people into every layer of our society.
    I think this sort of political impregnation of provincial, municipal governments, of boards, of agencies, industry, and everything you can think of—is bad for citizens in Alberta.
    It is ensuring trillions of dollars of resource money ends up in the hands of oil and gas companies who then hand over a pittance of this cash to us in royalties and as generous gifts of our own money— sponsoring community projects such as the Rosebud Theatre after they frack into the wells. The AER which was created by the Tories and funded by big oil– is super useless. There is a ton of chatter and no action at every level of government; this will continue until citizens do not back down from engagement with the folks they have hired to represent them. Engagement means consequences that some of our activists have already endured such as Jessica Ernst and yet without these folks, we would not have known about the messes in the environment portfolio.
    Ordinary citizens need to become activists.
    Although it is pretty much an inverted totalitarian system right now, I think with citizens grouping to work together as activists, we might be able to alter what is. It will be interesting to see the way Albertans vote in the next provincial election.

    I am curious to see if Albertans will vote out the Tories. Or will they do what I saw in Lac la Biche last weekend? Will they cheer on the Prentice guy as one of their own?

    This party has its connections everywhere like fungal hyphae and this party knows how to get people on board. They simply say that they won’t forget the people and the people seem to buy into this same fantasy every time.

    http://www.laclabichepost.com/article/20140806/LLB0801/140809984/-1/llb/jim-prentice-makes-progressive-conservative-leadership-pitch-in-lac

    Prentice said he wouldn’t forget about the smaller communities he has traveled to during his campaign. The Lac La Biche region, he said, is one that is known about across the province.

  12. Julie, you’ve made many excellent points here, I’ll just elaborate on your comments relating to the PC government’s abuse of the public trust. This week the Auditor General stated that Alison Redford misused government aircraft. Hancock, Horner , Denis et al piled on demanding that the RCMP investigate Redford’s actions. The PC party is desperately hoping that this will distract the public from the real problem, the rampant abuse of government aircraft by many more MLAs and their staff. I agree with the Opposition parties who are calling for a public inquiry into this mess. If the government refuses to go with a public inquiry then the next premier should direct the Auditor General to conduct a review of airplane usage for all MLAs and their staff from Sept 2012 to Mar 2014. I’m sure he’ll discover that Ms Redford had plenty of company!

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